Toronto ponders rush-hour ban on truck deliveries

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The president of the Ontario Trucking Association is questioning the wisdom of a proposal by the City of Toronto to ban downtown truck deliveries during morning and evening rush hours. Councillor Michael Walker proposed Tuesday, Jan. 31 that the city council consider a ban on truck deliveries in the downtown core between the hours of 7-10 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.

OTA President David Bradley says trucks serving customers with deliveries and pickups in the downtown core gladly would avoid operating during rush hour when the costs of congestion are high, but he says there has to be someone at the shipper or consignee premises to receive the goods.

“Delivery schedules are not established by the trucking industry,” Bradley says. “Our customers — in this case the businesses located in the downtown core — dictate when and where our trucks pick up and deliver goods. The problem is, and has always been, that few businesses in the core are 24/7 enterprises. They need to be convinced to take on the additional cost of having staff available during off-peak times.”

Walker, who believes that gridlock is a growing problem for Toronto, contends that preventing the trucks from blocking lanes during the city’s busiest times would improve the flow of traffic in and out of the city when there are the most vehicles on the road. The restriction would cover the downtown core from Spadina Avenue in the west to Jarvis Street in the east, and from the lakeshore north to Bloor Street. Truck drivers not abiding by the rules would be fined and possibly have their vehicles towed, Walker says.

Bradley believes that “the major contributors to congestion are not the trucks — it is cars, many of which are occupied by a sole person. It would seem to us that with all the new investment in transit — which is supposedly designed to get people out of their cars — a reasonable alternative exists for most of these motorists. No such alternative exists, however, for the businesses that rely on trucks to deliver goods. There are, for example, no rail lines running into the Eaton Centre.”